Mays Family Foundation: Texas Grants

OVERVIEW: The Mays Family Foundation makes the majority of its gifts in Texas, with emphasis on San Antonio. Grantmaking involves education, the environment, human services, arts and culture, and more.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, environment and animals, arts and culture, human services, churches

IP TAKE: This very family-oriented foundation is accessible to grantseekers and is a good one to know in the San Antonio area.

PROFILE: Initially funded in 1994, the Mays Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Lowry Mays and his wife, Peggy Pitman Mays. Lowry Mays grew up Dallas, went to Texas A&M University, and started out working as a petroleum engineer. In the early 1970s, Lowry and fellow Texan "Red" McCombs purchased their own radio station. Today, Clear Channel Communications, now called iHeartCommunications, is the nation's largest radio operator. The funder is “committed to supporting the communities in which we live, work and serve through causes that aid, empower, enrich and educate.” Grantmaking areas of interest are education, health, environment and animals, arts and culture, human services, and churches.

For education, the foundation has awarded grants to University of Texas-Houston and Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. In addition, Mays has been heavily involved with his alma mater, Texas A&M, where the business school is named in his honor. The Mays Family Foundation also awards grants for health, and the motivations here are personal. Mays suffered a stroke and Peggy had cancer. Past health support has gone to University of Texas Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC), where Peggy received treatment, as well as MD Anderson Cancer Center and St. David's Health Care Foundation.

Mays has funded select environmental and animal outfits in Texas including Animal Defense League in San Antonio, Bat Conservation International in Austin, and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Arts and culture outfits in Texas have also received money from the Mays Family Foundation. Arts grantees include Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio, Briscoe Western Art Museum, and San Antonio Museum of Art. Finally, the foundation supports Texas churches, such as Pius X Church, St. Anthony De Padua Church, and Christ Episcopal Church.

Grants are often around $25,000 each. The foundation does not provide an online grants database on its website. The foundation's grantmaking focuses in on the state of Texas, and especially San Antonio, where the couple resides. The foundation states that it favors organizations that “collaborate with other grantees and organizations, do not compete with other non-profits, measure results, and have a history of success.”

Mays has an accessible website, is open to applications, and meets several times a year to review them. The Mays Family Foundation provides a pdf document and an online tutorial to ease the application process. Direct all questions to Managing Director David E. Green at 210-832-3305 or dgreen@maysfamily.com.

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